Notre Dame In Hot Pursuit Of Elite Indiana Linebacker

Notre Dame is making a hard early push for standout 2023 linebacker Drayk Bowen, one of the nation's best linebackers
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Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean sophomore linebacker Drayk Bowen is one of the top prospects in the entire Midwest for the 2023 cycle. The 6-2, 215-pound athlete has picked up offers from the likes of Notre Dame, LSU, Michigan, Oregon, Michigan State, Purdue, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Arkansas over the past two months, so the talented defender's stock is rising all across the country -- and fast.

On St. Patrick's Day, Notre Dame reached out to Bowen as part of the Pot of Gold initiative. During the virtual call, both head coach Brian Kelly and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman told Bowen that he's one of the program's top targets on defense for his class, and he's a good fit given his proximity to campus as well.

“They just say they are going to build something great there, which it already was great to begin with,” Bowen told Irish Breakdown. “With the addition of Coach Freeman, it's going to hopefully take off. They said they are going to recruit the best in the country and they want to get over the hump [and start] beating Alabama and Clemson.”

On the field, Bowen is a menace that gives opposing offensive coordinators fits with his speed, instinctive nature and size at outside linebacker. That combination of physical traits helped Bowen produce 80 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks and four forced fumbles as a sophomore, and he's currently ranked as the No. 3 outside linebacker in his class and No. 61 overall player in the country by 247Sports.com.

While a hot commodity as a football recruit, Bowen is also receiving college interest for his work on the baseball diamond as an infielder as well, and that's given him an opportunity to check out a few schools despite the ongoing dead period.

“I've been down to Indiana for baseball, so I got to see their campus,” Bowen mentioned. “I actually went down a month ago and got to go look around the campus at Notre Dame. I really liked how it felt when you got on campus, kind of the historic part of it. It was really cool. You can watch the movie Rudy, then you get to go see the campus and see the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus. It was really cool.”

At the moment, Bowen is one of only six linebackers in the '23 cycle to hold an offer from the Fighting Irish, and he's already a big fan of the program. Notre Dame is one of several schools that Bowen has weekly conversations with as he navigates the recruiting process with other schools such as Virginia Tech, Oregon, Oklahoma State and South Carolina on the list too. Given how much closer Notre Dame is than any of those other schools, the Fighting Irish are likely in good position with Bowen at this point.

And when Notre Dame does try to persuade Bowen to stay close to home, Freeman has talked about playing Bowen in space at the Rover role at the next level. Playing that type of position would put a pinnacle on Bowen's athleticism and quickness, but he's been busy working over the offseason to be faster and stronger by the time he steps on the field this Fall.

“A lot of the time I will work on my explosiveness out of breaks and cuts and starts, then we have a dome right by my house, so I'll go there and we'll do seven-on-seven stuff,” Bowen said of his offseason regiment. “I'll get in pass work, pass drops. We have a bag at my house, so I've been doing bag work in the back yard. Then today I went to the track at my school and started working on my 40 time.”

“Most of our seniors are returning, and a lot of the sophomores and 2023s that are going to be juniors, a lot are returning and will provide a foundation to build on for the younger group.”

Recently, Bowen has been studying film, predicting plays, learning formations and focusing on the mental side of the game so that his physical talent can shine in 2021.

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